UK stocks fall again in early trade Monday on a relatively quiet day for corporate and economic news. Investors remains cautious following a volatile last week for financial markets with the London benchmark FTSE 100 index 36 points down at 6,274. The oil sector leads the loser board with rigs and services group Petrofac (PFC) and exploration firm Tullow Oil (TLW) both among the bigger Footsie fallers.
Lending a more positive air to London trading is pubs group Spirit Pub (SPRT), nearly 10% up at 100p in the wake of receiving a fresh takeover offer from rival Greene King (GNK). The new bid is pitched at about 109.5p per share, equal to £723 million for its smaller peer. Spirit has indicated a willingness to recommend the deal, subject to a thumbs-up from its shareholders.
Business telecoms and IT provider Daisy (DAY:AIM) is also close to sealing a takeover, the company agreeing a 185p per share cash management buyout that values the company at £494 million. Challenging conditions have affected the company despite investing in the region of £280 million in more than 20 acquisitions since floating in 2009. The shares jump 13.6% to 183.25p.
Own-label products developer McBride (MCB) is marked up 4.7% to 84p on a reassuring trading update. The toilet cleaners-to-dishwashing tablet play flags a solid start to the year, with constant currency sales returning to modest growth in the three-and-a-half months to 19 October, as well as a positive update on its UK restructuring.
Building merchant Travis Perkins (TPK) sheds 1.4% to £15.98 as analysts adjust forecasts following the firm’s disappointing third quarter update. Flor O’Donoghue at Davy Research cuts his rating on the stock from buy to neutral, saying consensus forecasts look too optimistic and that ‘there is no compelling reason for the stock to outperform over the remainder of the year’.
Babcock International (BAB) is flagged as a potential bidder for a Ministry of Defence (MoD) outsourcing contract worth around £400 million over 5 years, according to the Financial Times. The MoD is reportedly in talks with Babcock and other bidders about the terms of a deal for its Defence Support Group which maintains UK military hardware. Babcock trades 4p lower at £10.33.
Self-stage company Lok’n Store (LOK:AIM) gains 4.4% to 210.5p on reporting forecast-beating figures in the year to August. The Shares’ running Play of the Week sees net assets rise, prompting a big 16.7% dividend hike, to 7p a share.
Engine maker Rolls-Royce's (RR.) share price is dented by downgrades from Liberum and JPMorgan Cazenove, who remove their positive ratings on the stock.
Litigation has come back to haunt battery storage technology developer ACTA (ACTA:AIM) as a court ruling goes against a hoped-for €1.15 million cap to costs. The action relates to pre-2008 intellectual property used by the company, which could now face a heftier settlement. Investors don't like the uncertainty and the shares slump 17.5% to 1.88p, valuing the business at just £4.5 million.
Life sciences specialist C4X Discovery plans to raise £11 million as it seeks an AIM listing on Thursday (23 Oct). That implies a £31 million market value for the Manchester-based company.